The mission of the Research and Instrument Analyst Branch (RIAB) is to assist Instrument Scientists and HST General Observers in the processing and analysis of scientific, calibration and engineering data. That support involves past, present and future Hubble Space Telescope instruments and development of the James Webb Space Telescope as well as hardware testing in STScI's Independent Detector Testing Lab. In addition, our staff provides data processing and analysis for the scientific programs of STScI staff scientists.
Our staff is made up of Research and Instrument Analysts (RIA) and Scientists (RIS), which have Bachelors, Masters or Ph.D. degrees in Astronomy or related fields. Their duties are typically focused on manipulation and interpretation of data (i.e. images, spectra, detector/sensor readouts) using science software tools such as STSDAS/IRAF and IDL within a Unix operating environment. For example this might include cleaning up raw or noisy images into a finished product suitable for scientific or calibration studies; performing scientific measurements of those images; preparing interpretation of those results through comparison to predictions made by scientific models that may also have been produced by the analyst with available software tools or code that they may write; create presentation quality charts and images for documentation, presentation, or publication of the processing and analysis of the data.
Further activities involve the development and writing of software code, from small scripts to large custom data processing or analysis routines. Analysts are also involved in preparing observing proposals and in preparing reports documenting calibration results as well as in presenting those results at science and calibration meetings. Occasionally analysts take responsibility (part to full) for observing runs at ground based telescopes.
STScI scientists interested in requesting support for their research projects can send e-mail to the RIAB Lead (Max Mutchler), with the following information:
- project lead, primary contact, local collaborators
- project title, and abstract or brief description
- program ID and/or grant number
- role of the analyst; experience and skills required
- fraction of analyst's time and duration of project, e.g. 50% for 6 months
- project start date